There’s a fundamental issue with investing in America: Your money might support companies that harm people and the planet, and you probably don’t even realize it.
When we buy products, say for example a smartphone — we’re essentially giving that company a ‘thumbs up’ in approval.
We’re saying, ‘Hey, I like what you’re doing, and here’s more money to keep doing it…’
Well, the same can be true for investing.
When we buy stocks, we’re saying that we approve of that company’s products and policies.
What if I told you the majority of retirement accounts and index funds invest in big oil, coal mining, and tobacco… and the list goes on and on.
Would you give these industries a ‘thumbs up?’
If we look at the state of the world, we can see we’re not always funding what’s best for the planet.
So let’s look at some crazy numbers:
In 2018, over 480,000 people died from tobacco.
We’re actively pumping 96,000 oil and gas wells on public lands for fossil fuels that create 2/3rds of our carbon emissions.
And we dump 1.5 million pounds of trash into our oceans every hour.
So, if we care about climate change, we can stop funding fossil fuels.
And if we want to prevent lung cancer, let’s stop investing in tobacco.
Look, it’s simple. If we want to see change in the world, we don’t have to wait every four years to vote.
We can vote every day by choosing what products we buy, and investing in the things that we care about. It’s called impact investing.
With impact investing, your money supports companies that solve global challenges, instead of causing them.
And if you’re wondering — Yes. Investing with impact also means good business.
Studies show that stocks of companies with high environmental and social impact have actually outperformed the market for 25 years.
So, if we don’t have to compromise our values to build our wealth, then what are we doing?
What if, right now, you could invest your dollars in only companies that aligned with your values? We believe you should be able to do that, which is why we started Invested Interests. You have more control than you think. It’s time to start pairing your morals with your investments.
But for this to happen, we need a paradigm shift. The financial industry needs to provide radical transparency into the investment options they offer. It’s the only way investors can decide what’s best for their future, society at large, and the planet.
The largest and most popular types of investments in the US right now are mutual funds and ETFs–essentially baskets of securities that typically tout strategy, not individual holdings. So it’s not surprising that people who would never support big oil, tobacco, or weapons manufacturing find themselves invested in these industries. This is the moment to turn our good intentions into action. If you do not want to live in a polluted world, then do not invest in companies that pollute. Even if just one of the holdings in your ETF or mutual fund doesn’t align with your values, you’ve got a moral dilemma.
My question to you: If you really knew where your money was going and the impact it was having, would you make more intentional investing decisions?
For us, transparency and accountability are necessary for building an investment option that drives performance along with purpose. The companies in the mutual funds we work with have to undergo a careful screening process.
You can learn more about the social responsible funds we work with, our personalized portfolios HERE. You can also learn more about the companies in the funds we work with in their respectives websites. Let us help you achieve your investment goals while #InvestingInWhatMatters to you.
These days, people leave jobs and move on to new ones all the time. Chances are, you’ve made at least a few jumps yourself. You’re probably quite familiar with the process of getting your new company email, joining their health insurance plan and deciding which employer-sponsored retirement program to contribute to.
But what happened to the 401k you started at your last company?
Don’t worry, it’s still there, doing its thing. But where your hard-earned (and employer-matched) money is invested might not be to your liking.
Finding your old retirement accounts can be tricky.
If you don’t know where your old 401k account is, you’re going to have to do some digging. Usually, you will receive a statement at least quarterly, and this will typically have login information that you can use for your account. You can also check your former company’s website and they may have details about how the employee 401k program works and how to log in to your account. If all else fails, you can also contact the HR department directly.
Once you find your orphaned 401k, it’s not recommended to just leave the money where it is. For starters, some plans charge higher fees for managing the accounts of former employees. In general, the more accounts you have, the more management fees you pay. There’s also the possibility you could forget that you have the account altogether and lose the money (literally).
You will be better off keeping your retirement accounts in one place. It’s just easier to keep track that way. Investors have two options when they leave a company. They can roll their assets into an IRA or they can roll their assets into their next employer’s 401k plan. The benefit to moving into an IRA is that you’re likely to have more investment options than what’s available in your next employer’s 401k plan.
An IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is best understood as a savings account—but one specifically designed for retirement. Mutual funds, stocks and bonds can easily be held in an IRA. Many, actually most, of our clients have retirement accounts. Many of those accounts are IRAs that were once old 401ks.
Invested Interests can help you gather your orphaned 401k accounts into one IRA that supports social impact companies. Check out our Portfolios HERE and will be in touch.
Last week, August 14th, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note fell to 1.58 percent, a number that was last reached in late 2016. Also last week, the yield on a 30-year bond fell to 2.03 percent, the lowest record ever. When this happened in 2007, the Great Recession followed.
So, why exactly is this happening? Investors are worried about a lot of things right now, including the US-China trade war and the fact that the German economy is not doing well. When investors are worried, they tend to start selling riskier investments, like stocks, and start shifting their money to investments like bonds, since bonds are safer than stocks. This helps them protect their money in case the economy takes a turn. Bond prices go up, and yields down, when people buy bonds all at once. Economists carefully monitor bonds and when yields are declining or there are radical moves in the bond market, they take it as a strong sign that a recession may be around the corner.
But it’s important to note that even as falling bond yields can be a sign of a weakening economy, there are other ways to gauge how the economy is doing, such as the job market and the consumer outlook ratings. Coincidentally, both are doing pretty great right now.
With all this uncertainty, is this a good time to start investing? The answer is YES! The thing is, there’s always going to be worse times and better times to invest, and since NO ONE can predict when those times are going to happen, one of the best techniques is to invest consistently (i.e. investing a certain $/mo automatically) no matter what’s going on in the economy/market, which is also known as dollar-cost averaging. Dollar-cost averaging takes the guesswork out of the process and allows an investor to buy more when prices are low and less when prices are high. In addition, dollar-cost averaging takes emotion out of the process, which can be an investor’s worst enemy, gets rid of guessing, and makes investment a consistent habit. Dollar-cost averaging gives yourself the opportunity to grow your investments at a steady pace over time. And when making consistent investments, it also makes sense to place those funds into a well-diversified portfolio. Like the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” diversification can protect you from big declines when the market does take a big turn by being invested at all times in assets that react differently in different markets (strong markets, weak markets, inflationary markets, deflationary markets, etc.).
Here at Invested Interests, we help you create a diversified portfolio with mutual funds that only contain companies that align with your values. That way you’re not only investing in your future, and keeping risk at a minimum if a recession happens, but you’re also aligning your investments with the socials issues you most care about.
Want to learn more about how to align your investments with your values and becoming an Impact Investor with us? Click HERE and will be in touch.
The use and abuse of opioids in the United States is not something new. It started during and after the Civil War, when injured soldiers were given morphine for their pains, and consequently got addicted. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, heroin was legal and often used to treat coughs. It wasn’t until1924 that heroin was banned, but people still managed to get their hands on it.
One of the reasons why the misuse of opioids painkillers started in the early 1990s was because of a single paragraph printed on the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 saying that painkillers opioids were not addictive. In the following years, pharmaceutical companies (such as Purdue Pharma) took this opportunity to market their new opioid painkillers. Doctors were encouraged by pain specialists to prescribe opioids to their patients in large amounts.
In the early 2000s, the problem got worse when the medical practice standards changed. Doctors were only supposed to give opioids painkillers for patients that had gone through surgery or were close to dying, but with the change, they were required to prescribe opioid painkillers for chronic pain as well, which led to even more opioid prescriptions.
Today, millions of Americans are addicted to opioids, like Vicodin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl (which is legal and prescribed by doctors) and heroin (which is illegal). The death toll is six times higher today than in 1999.
The opioid crisis has turned into a public health issue, with more than 70,200 deaths just in 2017 alone, with an average of 130 people dying of opioid overdose daily. Americans represent about five percent of the world’s population, and they consume about eighty percent of the world’s opioids! This epidemic is affecting millions of Americans, and it’s time we all do something about it.
Purdue Pharma is being sued by almost every US state for downplaying the addiction risk of opioids and promoting its opioids painkillers to make millions of dollars. Big pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries among others are also being sued.
It’s easy to see the opioid epidemic as a problem of others and not our own and turn our heads to the other side. We need to take into account the human dimension of the crisis and recognize that this is about all of us. By divesting our investments from big pharmaceutical companies, we’re telling them that we’re not okay with this epidemic and that we’re taking a stand for change. We’re taking a stand for human rights.
Learn more about our Human Rights portfolios HERE.